The Interceptor prevents river plastic from entering the oceans

October 27, 2019 | Environment
The Interceptor: the 100-percent solar-powered solution that prevents river plastic from entering the oceans | Photo: The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup unveiled The Interceptor, a scalable technology that prevents river plastic from entering the oceans.

To get rid of the world's oceans of plastic, we need to not only clean up the plastic that is currently there but also stop new plastic from entering the sea.

The Interceptor is a 100-percent solar-powered structure that extracts plastic autonomously and is capable of operating in the majority of the world's most polluting rivers.

"Most plastic in the ocean originates from rivers. Our research found that 1,000 rivers are responsible for 80 percent of plastic entering the oceans," explains Boyan Slat, founder of The Ocean Cleanup.

So far, solutions to stop river plastic have been few and designed only for individual locations. But The Interceptor is revolutionary.

This is how it works. The solar-powered interceptors are strategically located in the river. Debris flows into the system, while boats are still able to pass. The barrier directs waste to the mouth of The Interceptor.

Here, a conveyer belt extracts the debris from the water onto a giant shuttle. The system functions autonomously.

Using smart software, the shuttle knows how to steadily distribute the waste into one of six dumpsters located on a separate barge.

The Interceptor: 1,000 rivers are responsible for 80 percent of ocean plastic entering the oceans | Photo: The Ocean Cleanup

100,000 Kilograms of Trash Per Day

At any time, operators can remotely access the Interceptor's dashboards from anywhere in the world.

Once full, the Interceptor automatically sends a message to local operators.

The barge is brought back to shore, emptied for recycling, and reattached for further collection. At top performance, The Interceptor can extract more than 100,000 kilograms of trash per day.

"Working together with governments and private companies, we aim to tackle these 1,000 most-polluting rivers in five years' time," concludes Slat.

The Interceptor is already collecting river plastic on Cengkareng Drain, Jakarta, and on the river Klang in Malaysia.

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